Us Two Together

Ephameron, trans. from Dutch by Michele Hutchison. Penn State Univ, $29.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-271-08491-6
Setting out to “avoid the anecdotal,” Ephameron resists narrative, relying instead on fragments of text and sketched moments to document her father’s descent into early-onset, primary progressive aphasia, a degenerative neurological disease which causes him to slowly lose capacity for language. The result is an experimental but not unemotional portrait of dementia. Collages of translucent white, bluish greens and grays, and bits of tape convey a stoic landscape and an undercurrent of fragility and tenderness. Ephameron draws her father’s face with his mouth blocked by blank strips of paper, like an odd growth. Similar slashes cross a building later, beneath the words “Is anyone there?” With ample white space, Ephameron allows for a stillness that sits outside of the world of jobs and travel, goals and describable relationships. Her father’s own scraps of disintegrating writing, depicted on graph paper, are poetic and heartbreaking: “Who will the childerings—what will be leftt.... Will I be able to remembering? Help me!” Ephameron sets herself a ruthless task, to simply bear witness. “The beginning is difficult. The end is difficult. But everything in between is, too,” she concludes. Accordingly, the splintered body parts she draws become progressively more disturbing. This visual poem asks an existential question—who are humans without language?—but its drive feels deeply personal. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/12/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Comics
Discover what to read next